The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and WageWatch, Inc., today released a survey that shows the hotel industry offers good, high-paying jobs with benefits and a fast track to senior positions within the hospitality sector.


The survey findings come as the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment report for August – released this morning – is expected to show sustained job growth in the seasonally adjusted accommodations segment of the leisure and hospitality sector. Labor data has seen month after month of growth, recovering from pre-recession highs, and is at its highest level since 2008.


The survey, released by AH&LA and WageWatch, shows that overwhelmingly, most job titles in the lodging industry pay above minimum wage. More than half of respondents have starting rates above the minimum wage for eight out of 10 job titles surveyed. These hourly-positions offer a fast-track to upward mobility and serve as a gateway for new workers to enter the lodging industry.


Highlights of the survey include:


  • Nearly 40% of respondents pay 100% of their workforce above the minimum wage.
  • Almost half (45.1%) pay 75% or more of their employees above the minimum wage.
  • 85.8% of the respondents provide medical insurance benefits to non-exempt workers.
  • Nearly 62% who offer employee healthcare benefits, subsidize basic individual plan premiums at 60% or greater.
  • 80% of minimum wage workers are eligible for promotion in less than a year and 100% are eligible in less than two years.


“The hotel sector is clearly the bright spot in our nation’s economy and this survey underscores what we have known all along: Hotel jobs are good jobs, with high wages, benefits and the opportunity to advance quickly into a life-long career,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH&LA. “Hotel employees are the backbone of our industry. That’s why it’s especially troubling that in cities like Los Angeles, small business hotel owners are being singled out by union-backed extreme wage initiatives that will hurt those seeking to get on the ladder of opportunity.”


Randy Pullen, president and CEO of WageWatch, Inc., said, “The Survey findings show that the hotel industry is a leader in job creation, advancement opportunities and high wages. Current efforts to significantly increase entry level wages could be disruptive and have negative and unintended consequences for the entire hotel wage scale. The pervasiveness of local, extreme wage increases will impact the entire wage structure of a business, which will undoubtedly slow or stifle further job creation in a local market.”


The survey is among many recent surveys that spotlight the negative consequences of extreme wage initiatives that could result in a drag on the economy resulting in the hundreds of millions of dollars with thousands of job losses.


The survey, which represents 23 percent of the 53,000 hotels in the industry today, includes almost half a million employees and was conducted between January and August, 2014. It includes responses from a large swath of the hotel industry, from independent operators to major hotel management companies, including small and large hotels across the country.